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Zoo improvements coming
New designs for the grizzly, bison zoo exhibits in the works
new deh more city - zoo pic web
This is the area of the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo that will eventually house the bison exhibit. It is part of a project to improve the northern are of the zoo. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other action Monday night, the Great Bend City Council:

• Approved an updated agreement with Golden Belt Humane Society as requested by society member Ken Roberts. Roberts said the first agreement between the city and the society was approved in 2006 and has never been revised.

• Authorized Mayor Allison to sign the contract with Venture Corporation in the amount of $567,332.00 for additional street work on residential and arterial streets to be done in 2016.

This is a five-year deal that contains basically the same terms as in the past. It includes the funding level requested for the upcoming budget year. 

• Authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the two change orders with the Kansas Department of Transportation for the US 281 and Railroad Avenue geometric improvement project with a reduction of $2,439.30 and an addition of $343.10 of which the City is responsible for 10 percent.

• Approved an additional firewall for the city’s phone system upgrade in the amount of $887.17.  For the phone improvement project approved a month ago, there is the need for an additional firewall for Fire Station Number 2 that was omitted in the original proposal, City Clerk Amit Patel said.

 • Authorized Allison to sign the supplemental agreement for the 2015 KLINK project with KDOT. This agreement reduces the scope of the project by removing pieces that are being handled through other efforts, Partington said.

• Authorized Allison to sign the contract with Venture Corporation in the amount of $567,332 for additional street work on residential and arterial streets to be done in 2016. As discussed at the budget work session, the city staff has been identifying additional streets to resurface this year.  

• Approved assisting with the Barton County Young Professionals’ YP5K and Half Marathon. The city will endorse BCYP’s bid to have the courses certified by the USA Track and Field organization to lend legitimacy to it, as well as offer in-kind support.

Members of the Young Professionals were present to discuss the details and map for the races to be run on Oct. 15. Both events will start and end in downtown Great Bend this year.

Organizers said they not only want to inspire healthy lifestyles and fitness, but also want to showcase what Great Bend has to offer.

There were 85 participants last year in both races and they hope for more this year. Proceeds are used to fund wellness-related projects with last year’s earnings purchasing bike racks communities in Barton County.

 Although just in the preliminary stages, changes are coming to the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo following action by the City Council Monday night.

The council authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the architectural services agreement with GLMV Architecture to develop a concept design for the grizzly bear and bison exhibits on the northern end of the facility. The agreement to produce the conceptual master plan will likely cost about $10-11,000.

“This is not getting an exhibit built,” City Administrator Howard Partington said. “This is the planning to get it right.”

Josh Golka of the city’s on-call engineering firm Wichita-based Professional Engineering Consultants recommended GLMV. He has worked with them on other projects and brought them to the city’s attention.

GLMV has worked with zoos all over Kansas and around the globe, Partington said. A display they designed just opened at the Emporia Zoo.

This may cost more than doing the work with city personnel, but Partington said it is part of a change in direction. They want to move to more professional exhibits and want to get professionals involved.

The city was awarded two gives totally $230,000 from the Dorothy M. Morrison Foundation for zoo improvements. The concepts created by GLMV may take more than that to bring to fruition, and Parting ton said the city may apply to the foundation for help with the design fees.

When the Morrison Foundation funds were accepted by the council in March, it was noted the first gift, for $130,000, will be used to upgrade the grizzly bear exhibit. It will add 260 feet of fence, a shelter house and a pond with running water. The bears will also get shade structures, a climbing wall and a zip line. In this case the zip line isn’t a ride — it’s a cable on a pulley that anything can be attached to so it can be batted or played with, making the item hard to catch. An example of one can be found now at the zoo’s lion exhibit; it holds a large ball.

The second gift of $100,000 will be used to reintroduce bison to the zoo. The first step will be to restore the exhibit space with new fencing. The gift will also pay for a shelter/hay shed, holding chute and stock tank.

Sidewalks, landscaping and signs will be included in both exhibits. 

However, these projects may grow and change, depending on what the master plan suggests.